A respectable pop-punk album is able to combine the conventions of the genre, while bringing something new to the table. Playing testament to this, The Wonder Years fifth studio album No Closer To Heaven reinvigorates their sound, paving way for what evolves into their most mature release to date.
Finding the perfect mixture of somberness and diversity while encapsulating reminiscence to its inspirational roots, No Closer To Heaven cements itself as a step in the right direction for the Philadelphia-based pop-punk ensemble. Going on to showcase a carefully considered arrangement of songs, the album becomes a journey as a whole while transitioning track to track. The emotional roller coaster that is No Closer To Heaven begins with the harmonious and thunderous chorus of ‘Brothers &’. Setting a tone for the album as an entirety, The Wonder Years are back, equipped with an ever-present urgency that flows throughout their sound. While delivering lyrics of such rawness, one feels like they’re hearing the recital of a personal diary.
Their fifth studio album homes the artful creation of a reflective series of songs, channelling into a more technical and reflective approach to their music than the band has created before. The pace fluctuates between fast and slow contrasting, dramatically and working to highlight emotional density in slower songs such as ‘Cigarettes and Saints’. With ambient instrumental melodies, the song builds intimacy with vocalist Dan Campbell. Erupting into an infectious peak mid-song, emphasising the conscious control of pace riddled within the release.
Throughout the album, artful control of pace comes together with a diary-esc lyrical style delivering hooks such as; “I bet you’re bumming cigarettes from saints” in even the most sombre of songs on the release. As a whole, the album reeks of musical maturity while anchoring itself to an extremely personal lyrical story; reminiscent of something written in your bedroom at your parents’ house, when you should really be asleep.
Strengthening their success by somehow making cursing sound beautifully poetic in ‘Stained Glass Ceilings’ or when creating a ballad through a comparison of a bird carcass and a bloodhound in ‘A Song For Ernest Hemingway’, The Wonder Years latest release No Closer To Heaven, draws together all that is good about pop-punk, while artfully playing with pace and lyrics to cultivate a release fuelled with somberness, rawness and maturity.
No Closer To Heaven is out now via Hopeless Records.